Reproof key to England squad recall: Shaw

Reuters, LONDON

Thu, Sep 06, 2018 - Page 16

England leftback Luke Shaw believes that his Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was right to criticize him and on Tuesday said the Portuguese had been key to his international recall.

The 23-year-old was last week named in the England squad for the first time in 18 months for the Nations League match against Spain on Saturday and the friendly with Switzerland on Tuesday.

His return to the international fold follows a strong start to the season in which he has played every minute of United’s opening four games after he struggled to get into the team last term, with Mourinho critical of Shaw’s attitude.

“I think he got frustrated with me because he knew I could do better,” Shaw said on how he was treated by the United manager. “When I look back, maybe he was right.”

“It was a tough few years, but it made me stronger mentally. I wanted to prove to him I could do what he said I couldn’t. I had a chat with the manager before the season and he said he wanted me to stay,” Shaw said.

“I’ve matured,” he added. “You could say I’ve gone from a kid to a man. I know what I need to do to push myself. I want to play for Manchester United, stay there and prove my worth to the team.”

Shaw was one of the most expensive teenagers in world soccer when in June 2014 he moved to Old Trafford from Southampton at the age of 18 for £27 million (US$34.59 million), having made his England debut four months previously.

He was a regular in former United manager Louis van Gaal’s team until he broke his leg in two places against PSV Eindhoven in September 2015, missed two months of the 2016-2017 season with a groin problem and then twice had operations on his foot.

“I had a lot of complications with my leg and that was the really hard moment for me in my career,” Shaw said.

“No one knows, but I was really close to actually losing my leg. I never knew that until six months later when the doctor told me. At the time, they were thinking about flying me back and if I’d have flown back, I would probably have lost my leg because of the blood clots and stuff,” he said.

“But I don’t really care about that anymore. I feel really strong — and my right leg is exactly as it was before my leg break,” he added.

“All the stick I’ve had in the last few years has pushed me. I wanted to prove everyone wrong and get back to what I do best. I need games to get fully fit and motivated. I’m feeling back to my old self,” he said.